Coastal Kayak Recommendation

Looking to upgrade my Kayak

I have been paddling an Ocean Kayak Frenzy for years on the New Jersey shore…Ocean, Bay and salt water rivers. Looking to upgrade…
I want a sit in that allows me to extend my season.
Frequently I’m in winds and chop and decent waves/ boat wakes.
Not trying to break the bank but I want something that will allow me to paddle further.

Worse part there are no longer any try before you buy paddle sport shops left from my googling anywhere near me.

Any help is appreciated

Height/Weight/Shoe size?
Day use, overnight, expedition?
Rudder/Skeg/No preference?
Length and or weight limitations?
Any specific features you’re looking for?

Welcome, yes sadly NJ is not great place to look for a kayak shop, I think there are a few in southern NJ. I have an Eddyline and a Riot Kayak both sit ins that handle the Delaware Bay fine and should suit your needs, what is your price range. Funny enough I was looking at a ocean Kayak to maybe add to my fleet but the seller decided to hang on to it. Your welcome to test out mine to see if you like either brand. I am not selling them as a FYI

@Marshall : might be in reach from New Jersey.

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I’m 5’11” 225lbs 11.5 shoe

Not sure if I need a skeg or rudder

My transport vehicle is a old Ford ranger so no too long

Not too heavy.

Not sure about features.

Price range. Under 1000

I have a couple of Scorpio MVs ($959) in Corelite (MK I) that if you fit would serve you well.

Test paddle all the time but a bit north of you in Hyde Park, NY.

See you on the water,
Marshall Seddon
The River Connection, Inc.
9 W. Market St.
Hyde Park, NY. 12538
845-229-0595 main
845-242-4731 mobile
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Worth the ride to Hyde! Especially now water is not dangerously cold yet.

I will also say it is worth the ride. We are in Delaware. We made an overnight trip up to Marshall’s to test ride kayaks. Well worth the trip!


Reality is that the clothing you wear would make more of a difference on extending your season than the kayak. Whether you are in a sit on or sit in, you need to be wearing clothing that will keep you comfortable when you are paddling, and at the same time able to keep you alive if you swim.

Here are coastal water temperatures (reported and averages) for mid-Atlantic area: CWTG - NCEI Coastal Water Temperature Guide - Atlantic Coast: Central table The temps drop off pretty quickly as you get into fall.

The guidelines I follow is when the water temp is 60 or below, I am wearing some sort of thermal protection for a swim. That would mean a wet suit (usually farmer john, 3 mm, often with a paddle jacket added) or dry suit. Below 50 and I only would be in a dry suit. That said, the dry suit costs basically what you are looking to spend for a kayak…

Back to kayaks - here is a breakdown of the American Canoe Association’s ratings of categories based on conditions, and what boat would be appropriate:

Note that paddler skill isn’t talked about - just what level the boat can do. Of course, paddler skills must match the conditions in order for the boat to be able to handle a certain level.

In regards to sit in kayaks, that skill comes to play. First, the sit in kayak you need is a sea/touring kayak. The short and wide recreational class kayaks are only appropriate for level 1 conditions (definitely not coastal. as most don’t have flotation for deep water rescues). There is an article available online at California Kayaker Magazine - South West's source for paddlesports information (issue #10) that talks about different types of kayaks that might be worth a read to understand about types of kayaks.

With a touring kayak, getting back in after a flip takes a bit more time and skill/knowledge than a sit on top would, so a strong recommendation is to take at least an introduction to sea kayak class, that would include you doing a paddlefloat and T-rescue. That same magazine issue listed above has an article on T-rescues, if you want to see what is involved.

Marshall is ACA certified and knows all of this (and would be a good source for a class also). He will set you up well, if you go that way.

If you watch, you may see appropriate sit insides used (that said, with the pandemic things are all crazy in availability). Some boats that should fit you are Dagger Alchemy 14.0L, Dagger Stratos 14.5L, Jackson Journey 14, or P&H Delphin 155. Definitely get instruction or otherwise make sure you now how to wet exit and reenter the boat in deep water.

If you wanted to stick to sit on top but upgrade from what you have, I would look for one that is a bit longer and a little narrower than the Frenzy. Something more like 12’ long and with a capacity well in excess of 300lbs would be better.

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Fiberglass or wood.
Some length as in over 15 feet.
Sealable bulkheads or a sea sock.
Cockpit you can easily slide out of.
Seaworthy hulll that can travel.

If in Central or South Jersey, Delaware Paddlesports might be an option. I got my Jackson Journey 14 from them as a new left-over for $800. Facebook Marketplace might be your best source for used boats. As far as trying a bunch of different options, your best bet might be to go on a paddle with a club and ask people if you could try their boats. Andrew Furphy from Garden State Kayakers has 22 boats, and you might find that one of those is suitable.